WXXI AM News

Debate Over Demolition Near Brewery

Dec 16, 2011

Area preservation advocates are sharing their concerns over Genesee Brewery's plans to tear down a 19th-century building. Genesee Brewery says rehabilitation of the 122-year-old structure would be too costly.

The move comes after Genesee announced plans last month to create a new brew pub. The plan includes transforming an old packaging plant near the brewhouse into a bar and visitor center.

Thursday, preservationists attended a hearing held by the city's Zoning Board of Appeals, which must approve the demolition.

Michael Governale works in the High Falls District. He favors saving the building, "I believe when we're born into this world we're entrusted with certain things. Our grandparents trust that we'll work hard to keep and maintain the world they've broken themselves to build and our children need us to preserve it and leave it a little better than how we inherited. Preservation is often difficult but in many ways it's all we have to keep us grounded as a society and as people.”

Rich Lozyniak, the CEO of Genesee parent company North American Breweries, also attended the hearing. 

He says it could cost about $10 million to restore the old brewhouse as compared to approximately $600,000 for demolition.

Lozyniak says so far he's received no reasonable funding offers to save the building.

No decision is expected from the Zoning Board of Appeals until next month, at the earliest